I was in the fourth grade at Central Grade School on Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo Beach, California. Dad was a civilian employee of the Navy working 350 miles north at Inyo Kern in the northern Mojave desert. Since our Packard would run on high grade aviation gas, dad and three friends made it home for every other weekend. We had a blue bell gas ration sticker and four gallons a week could not dent that trip. The government delivery of airplane gas always had more gallons than would fit into the storage tanks; it was either funneled into the five gallon empty paint thinner cans or dumped on the sand. The Packard tank and trunk held enough for the round trip. Dad also brought home scrounged one oz. packets of Navy sugar for our kitchen on Juanita Avenue. This weekend trip home I was in trouble. First quarter report cards came home Friday and I had an “F” in math.
With my dyslexia, I just could not get my “times tables” right; all else in math class depended on knowing the table perfectly from memory. Mother was a no-excuse disciplinarian. Dad always found a way to make things work.
Saturday morning required Nancy and I to leave early and do the store lines; perhaps there would be bacon, Oleo, and sugar for our war ration stamps. Each line would be one to three blocks long, and often the store would be out by the time we got to the counter if we did not start very early. Then home to face the report card.
Mother was talking ninety words a minute, dad was contemplating. He then turned to me and asked, “With helping your mother with the baby, your after school chores, homework and Saturday chores, where can we carve out thirty minutes a day to learn the times tables?” The answer came back, “my lunch hour.” I took my sack lunch and scarped it down and spent forty-five minutes with my buds; history!—until I learned my tables. Dad timed me, a ten minute run from Central to our house; mother would have a ten-minute lunch ready, counting a ten-minute downhill run back to Central classroom; there was my thirty minutes to learn the tables. Mother was without mercy, dad had planned it, we would do it. The next quarter my math grade was a “B-” and I had lost 10 pounds and was on my way to getting in shape. I was back at lunch with my buds. As Melba proved years later, I could learn. I just had to be programmed correctly and motivated.
One of the exciting as well as frightening things about inviting the Harveys to share the Agape ministry as minister to do some of the preaching, be in charge of the hospital, jail and home calling was for me to take over as teaching pastor, to be totally responsible for the local and outreach education of our people and friends. Jesus made it clear in the Great Commission that we were to teach everything he taught; that would be the whole Bible. That teaching must include every age, sex, and condition. Since that teaching calls us to be disciple makers, that teaching includes reaching and teaching the lost. That teaching includes using all the methods and tools at hand. I reach out in verbal communications, written communications, screen communication, and examples to teach the word of God. My assumption is that with the correct program and motivation all can learn—that the Word of God needs to be caught by example and taught from the Word.
The Word of God needs to be caught by example and taught from the Word.
One cannot read, listen to the news reports or national surveys without running across how uneducated the American public is and especially the church in our generation in the Bible, how the church is declining in the Western world, and our kids are abandoning the church en masse. This sounds like becoming Captain of the Titanic ten minutes after hitting the iceberg.
I have been doing some research and found some good news for Agape church, and the rest of our churches in America. There has been a lot of fake news and misinterpreted reports that have been used to dishearten the church and leaders in America. Remember who is in charge of fake news—lies—the one who Jesus said, “His native language is lying.”
Most interestingly, this research was centered at Harvard University-Federalist website in collaboration with Glenn T. Stanton of Focus on the Family. All information used by permission.
This research goes back to 1776 and the Declaration of Independence. The findings are a more dedicated church, a more faithful church, a larger church in percent and total numbers, yet a church when taken en todo is more concerned with being good, than being holy.
A church that has lost control of public education, but is replacing it with Christian schools from pre-kinder to universities, and home schooling.
We are a church in America that is struggling against secular trends in family formation in marriage trends and new laws. We are for the first time in many older churches seeing five generations in the same congregation and struggling to be relevant to each generation. To make room for the younger Christians and hold on to the seniors that feel something horrible is happening to their dear church. In our society the church is the last stronghold of the nuclear family. I want to look at the facts, what we are doing right, what we are doing wrong, and how we can best address our future planning for success. Most of all I want to know how I can be successful as the Teaching Pastor of Agape Christian.
“The old “MAIN LINE” European-based churches are declining rapidly, as if they had a mega mill stone about their necks. The good news, their serious members are not abandoning God, but going to the Western Hemisphere frontier Bible churches that the open Bible brought about in the 1800s to the 1900s. The two fastest growing such churches are The Assemblies of God and the Christian churches/churches of Christ.”
“Across America the percentage of the number of people that attend church at least once a week, read their Bible several times a week, pray daily has remained constant for the past fifty years and is four times higher than records show in 1776.”
“One in three Americans pray multiple times a day, while one in fifteen does so in other western nations. Attending church services twice on Sunday is twice as high among American Christians compared to the next closest nation, and three times higher than other industrial nations.”
“The ones listing as ‘non’s’ (No religious affiliation) are the ages past Easter and Christmas attenders that no longer need to make a show of Christianity for business reasons. This is good news, for now everyone knows they need Jesus, no pretence of being even ‘nominal’ Christians. This is not a loss to the church, but an opportunity for true conversion.”
“One-third of Americans hold that the Bible is the Word of God; fewer than 10% believe so in similar countries.”
“The internal growth of the church making strong Christians stronger is on the rise. In 1989, 39 percent of those going to church held strong beliefs and practices; today that figure is 47 percent.”
“Today, if your church has multiple services; if you teach the Bible seriously, not as a joke; if you call people to serious discipleship; and encourage daily intimacy with God; serious seekers will find you and come.”
“Of the young people leaving the church only 10 percent claimed a strong childhood faith. While 89 percent claimed they come from a family with very weak faith and practice.”
“A large percentage of millennial youth have walked away from organized religion, but are stronger in their faith than five years ago. They can be reached and brought back.”
“The serious family church has not only taught Christian marriage, but has practiced Christian marriage; those that have babies and rear and educate them will control the future (Jeremiah 29).”
“Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart proclaimed in FIRST THINGS … ‘that the most subversive and effective strategy that we might have to counter the culture would be one of militant fecundity: abundant, relentless, exuberant and defiant child bearing. The liberal, secular are refusing to get married until late in life, they practice abortion religiously, we can win with educated children.”
“Those today seeking Christianity want the real deal.”
What can we do with these facts?
Since I see such historical, social, religious, socioeconomic advantage to the Jews by obeying Jeremiah 29 in captive Babylon, let’s get on board today.
Jeremiah 29:4, This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
This was all based on the family plan. This lead the Hebrew captives to become leaders in 127 nations of the Persian Empire, the development of the synagogues, and opened the door for Paul and the church 500 years later. Several years ago a number of Christian churches rejected Steve as their minister because of the size of his family. One of the major projects for Herb and others is to open the minds of Christian leaders that marriage, children, and Sunday school are a good thing. That we need to defer many of today’s pleasures in order to flood our churches with children. Now, Herb and Melba took Dr. Hart’s advice years ago. We nearly have Melba’s hundred Pinneys. With two more grandchildren getting married this year, and so many to go. Then there will be the great grandchildren. Perhaps the number will be well in the hundreds by the time I go to report to Melba.
The secret is not to just have children, but to teach them to love God, be workers that produce wealth from childhood, to be tithers, and get an education. Melba and I have many Christian college, state college, and university graduates, six ministers, six in childhood education, lawyer, corporation management, nurse, civil engineer, fireman, budding policeman, school administrators, business owners-tech management, college professors, firemen, CPA, writers, contractors and builders, in university to be a medical doctor, housewives and good ol’ boy hard workers; all a blessing to their community.
What should we say, what about Agape? We have one nuclear family; the rest of us are single or attending as single. We have people of influence that we can reach in the church with the J-29 message. We must start teaching our Youth God’s family plan. We must reach out to young adults we can influence. Again, we must teach at home obedience to God as well as at church. Many parents are so afraid that they will look like they are forcing their children to be Christian workers that they end up not directing them in any way toward God. Children should be given work to do to pay their “rent,” and work to do to earn money, then taught to give to the church and to save. We have not done well with this.
So what Bible accounts should we teach? Note I said “ACCOUNTS,” not stories. The word “stories” communicates made up events. At the same time, “accounts” communicates an actual event. Words have meanings and subconsciously translate those meanings into our mind and the mind of our students. I BELIEVE WE NEED TO TEACH THE PRECEPTS OF God, right and wrong, by realizing that there are things that God prohibits, things that God prescribes, and things that GOD permits. God always prescribes the long run best for us. His way is always the best for us in the long run. God always prohibits us from things that are harmful for us no matter how appealing or pleasurable. God often allows us, permits us to have answered prayer when it is not against his will, just because he loves us, or wants to teach us. Our main job in teaching the Bible is to know what God prescribes, prohibits, and permits. The best way to teach this is teaching a solid worldview in who God is and our relationship to HIM. I am going to list the outline for my worldview teaching, and develop each one in the weeks to come.
Worldview one: There is one God that is expressed in three forms when dealing with His creation.
Worldview two: That God is an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise creator of everything.
Worldview three: That God is involved in the planning, creation, and work assignment of his redeemed and created humans.
Worldview four: That man was create for fellowship with God; that fellowship was broken and redeemed.
Worldview five: That the holy universal church is the earthly body of Jesus the Christ and no man or woman is compete, wholly acceptable to God, until they are fully and actively connected to a local body of the Holy Universal Church of Christ.
Worldview six: There is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun as we walk the paths of this life.
That should keep us busy for the next couple of months—bon appétit!